Trochu Town Council report

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Mayor Barry Kletke called Trochu Town Council meeting to order at 6:05 pm on Monday June 8, 2020, with all Councilors present and in attendance at the Town Office. Joining the Councilors was Director of Operations Dave Nelson, Recording Secretary Toni Nelson, and Lavinia Henderson of Civic Solutions. CAO Carl Peterson was away and could not attend the meeting.

Council decided that July 13 and August 17 will be their summer Council Meeting dates.

Director of Operations, Dave Nelson, noted that compost pick-up has begun, and that a Toxic Waste Round-up took place on Saturday, June 6. Two residents signed up for the backyard waste clean-up and pick up on May 25th. As well, he shared that parks crews have only been able to have two days of weed spraying so far because it’s been an unusually windy spring. Nelson commended the new Parks and Recreation Manager on his work thus far, cleaning up public areas and coordinating the landscaping effort. As well, he shared that the newly wired siren has been functional since May 11 and will sound the noon hour at 11:55 am each day, five minutes early as to not compete with the bells from the United Church.

Crews are waiting for rain to stop so that top soil can be spread on the Pontmain site. The demolition company brought the site to grade, now town crews need to beautify it.

In the area of water and waste-water, Nelson shared that it’s been a good month, with electrical concerns at the lift station able to be repaired so that the process can be more automatic and less manual than it’s been. Crews replaced a valve between one of the wells to the Huxley well-house, which was a three man, three day job.

Nelson said that they received permission to install a hydrant at the community gardens. This was fortuitous because there is now a fence being put up, and a water truck would no longer be able to access the gardens. The hydrant will be installed in July.

There was a slow water leak at the UFA station, on the residents’ side of the valve. Nelson got a plumber to take a look at it, and he will be digging a new line in. Since the valve in question is in the middle of the driveway, it’s likely it would be damaged again by heavy trucks constantly driving above it if it was kept in the same location. Instead, the new valve will be moved closer to the propane tanks in order to alleviate future issues. New asphalt and curbing was planned to be completed this summer anyway, so it’s fortuitous timing all around.

Nelson noted that it has been a difficult year for pothole management, and that asphalt wasn’t ready until late May. Street sweeping was set to wrap-up on Wednesday, June 10, and pothole repairs were planned to take place on June 11 and 12, or when the weather is hottest.

Council asked Nelson about unsightly properties in town, and Nelson will take pictures of those sights to have them taken care of.

Councilor Chris Armstrong shared with Council that he had a Community Futures Wildrose meeting in which the Rural Relief and Recovery Fund was highlighted. Armstrong notes that $970K is available to small and medium sized businesses who were not eligible for other funding measures. It is a quick and easy process to apply, and funding is received after just a few days. It is a federal program, and applications are completed through the government’s website.

The Community Futures Three Hills office will be closing, as the space was not being used and closing will save money. Their phones and land-lines are being donated to non-profits, and they are switching to phone calls via cell phone apps. Armstrong said that the audit was completed May 11, so those statements should be in the Board’s possession in July.

Clr. Bill Cunningham attended a Kneehill Housing meeting. He noted that there were a small number of residents at the Golden Hills Lodge who decided to leave the facility during the lockdown to instead be with family, with plans to come back to the Lodge. They continue to pay rent but have been forgiven the amount for meals.

Cunningham also informed Council that the small profit made on the manors and community housing is usually taken back by the government. However, this year they did not require that money back, so the amount (between $40K and $50K) will be used for small projects, repairs, and upgrades. As well, the rehab smoking rooms have been approved, and there will likely be 10 of these units prepared.

Deputy Mayor Munro reported that the Library will be reopening for curb-side service on June 17 and will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:30am-5:30pm. They’ve done lots of work to prepare and are excited to be open once again.

Mayor Barry Kletke updated Council on his meeting with MP Damien Kurek. Carl Peterson also attended the meeting to discuss Trochu Housing with Mr. Kurek. Kurek expressed support for the senior’s housing project and gave them tips to ensure the project has the best chance of success passing through the government. Mayor Kletke was impressed that Damien was willing to drive to Trochu and meet with them for an hour. Nathan Cooper has expressed interest in meeting, but a date has not been set yet.

In Finance, Council motioned to have the 2020-21 minor hockey arena rates at $92.00 per hour.

A recommendation from administration to accept the bid from Howitt construction was motioned and passed by Council.

Bylaw 2020-08, was presented to Council, and passed first reading. This is a Municipal Borrowing Bylaw of the Town of Trochu. “This by-law authorizes the Council of the Municipality to incur indebtedness by the issuance of debentures in the amount of $2,700,000 for the purpose of expanding the sewage lagoon to address the current and future demands of the municipality while meeting the Provincial and Federal legislative requirements.” The total amount for the lagoon expansion is expected to be $3.4 Million, and they’ve received $700K in grant funding.

In New Business, Council discussed the town Campground, as this is an unusual year because of COVID-19. Campgrounds could not be open for much of the spring, so Council would choose a monthly cost for campground rentals. Council decided on a monthly fee of $600, reduced to $500 with the purchase of a golf membership. Nightly rates will remain at $30.

Council expressed desire for showers to be installed in the future, to make the site more attractive to potential renters. Dave Nelson will also investigate the price and feasibility of installing Wi-Fi to the campground, as another selling feature.

Because the driving range at the campground has fallen into disrepair, Council motioned to shut down the unsightly driving range and allow the Lion’s Club to donate all driving range materials to whomever they see fit. The netting would be costly and labour intensive to repair, and is not used enough to justify the time or money. The metal poles will be re-purposed, and netting will be taken down.

The meeting entered closed-session at 7:10pm. From closed session it was decided to change the name of the campground to the “Trochu Municipal Campground.”

The next regular meeting of Trochu Council is Monday, June 22nd at 6:00 pm at the Trochu Town Office.